Thursday, December 5, 2019

Yule dig this Stylophone holiday music!

I got an email today about a fun little holiday album by Stylophonic Workshop called "Christmas on the 350s." With just five short songs, the whole thing only runs about seven minutes. But it's seven delightful minutes of nostalgia, kitsch, and some excellent musicianship. I promise it will make you smile.

All the sounds came from a vintage Stylophone 350s except for the percussion, and it really showcases the strengths of the 350s when played by a skilled and creative performer. Give it a listen on Spotify. It's also available as a playlist on YouTube.

If it inspires you to play some holiday music on your own 350s, there is Stylophone sheet music of German Christmas carols on the last couple of pages of the .pdf document at this link.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Melophone -- a (baby) grand pretender!

If it's true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then unlicensed knockoffs of the Stylophone are evidence of its popularity and success. A few months ago, I found this colorful, vintage styloclone on eBay.


Rather that dutifully copy the official Stylophone design, the Taiwanese manufacturer of the "Melophone" made some rather clever tweaks. I find the baby grand piano shape of the cabinet both cute and kind of hilarious.  It makes me imagine a full-sized piano with metal keys and a stylus the size of a pool cue!

This model also features a rather prominently mounted combination on/off/volume rotary switch. I find it easier to use than comparable rotary switches on some of the official Stylophones of the same era, but it kind of disrupts the piano motif.


And the sound?  Well, not so good.  The basic tone is fine, but there's no vibrato switch, and a few of the keys are rather out-of-tune.  That could just be due to age, though.

Now I just need to find a tiny candelabra.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sprechen Sie Stylophone?

Wie geht's! 

It has been awhile since I've posted an item from the Stylophone museum. This time, I have an interesting box.

During the first incarnation of the Dubreq company, their celebrity spokesperson for the Stylophone in Germany was a jazz musician and TV and radio personality named William "Bill" McReery Ramsey. 





Bill Ramsey was actually born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, but he became a famous musical entertainer in Germany while serving at a US Armed Forces Network radio station in Frankfurt in the early 1950s. You can read his bio on his official website at www.ramsey.de.

Bill appeared on at least one version of the Stylophone packaging.  The box in my collection is not in very good shape, but I hope you enjoy seeing these photos.




My knowledge of German is both limited and a bit rusty, but I think the text below very loosely translates to something like "Guaranteed: You can be playing simple tunes in 10 minutes. Everyone can play, even if you don't know how to read sheet music."



When I bought this box (which happened to have a Stylophone in it) I didn't get a copy of the vinyl record.  So, I don't know if Bill replaces the voice of Rolf Harris. I did, however, get the instruction book that included Stylophone sheet music for some German folk tunes.  Last year the folks at Dubreq gave me permission to post the sheet music on-line, but I didn't get around to it until now.  I've enlarged it to fit 8.5x11 paper. You can view and download the .pdf at this link. If the link doesn't work for you, send me a note and I'll get you a copy.

Tschüß!